For the longest time, I have been wracking my brain to remember what I had read by Lois Lowry as a child. The Giver was published in 1993, when I was 14, when I had moved on to adult novels. I definitely would not have been caught reading a "children's" book during those early teen years. Same goes with Number the Stars (I was 11 when it was published, but never read it). Finally, I stumbled across her website, and looked at her book list.
Before the Newbery awards, National Jewish Book Award, Sidney Taylor Award, and a gazillion other awards and recognitions, there was Anastasia Krupnik. I had completely forgotten about this delightful series that came out in the 1980's, and I am delighted to recall one of my childhood favorites from the realm of foggy memories. Yay! Can you tell how excited I am?
Ok, now that that's out of my system (stay tuned for future re-reads of the Anastasia series), I can move on to my review of The Giver.
Title: The Giver
Author: Lois Lowry
Pages: 179 pgs.
First sentence: It was almost December, and Jonas was beginning to be frightened.
Short Summary: Jonas lives in a world where everything is perfect and under control. When Jonas is twelve, he is singled out in his community to receive special training from the Receiver of Memories. The Receiver is the only person in the whole community that holds the memories of true pleasure and pain. Now it is Jonas' turn.
Was this a challenge book? I read this book for the BookAwards Challenge. It is the 1993 winner of the Newbery Award.
What did I think? **This might contain small spoilers**
The Giver is a though-provoking book for people of all ages. It is interesting to think about what it would be like to live in a community like Jonas': never experiencing pain, to always be content, yet having no knowledge that life could be any different. A life where you have no chocie, everything is assigned to you, including your career, spouse, and children. Where there is no true concept of feelings (or colors!). I particularly like that the ending is left ambiguous. It certainly gives the reader a lot to think about.
"Many kids want a more specific ending to The Giver. Some write, or ask me when they see me, to spell it out exactly. And I don't do that. And the reason is because The Giver is many things to many different people. People bring to it their own complicated sense of beliefs and hopes and dreams and fears and all of that. So I don't want to put my own feelings into it, my own beliefs, and ruin that for people who create their own endings in their minds."
- Interview with Lois Lowry